10 Facts You Need to Know About German Shepherd Dogs

There are many interesting things that surround a German Shepherd. Most people only know their personality and willingness to work, but there are several interesting facts about this breed that are sure to surprise you.

Knowing the following 10 facts will make you see your German Shepherd differently:

1. The German Shepherd Is the 2nd Most Popular Breed in the World

The AKC (American Kennel Club) rates all dog breeds by their popularity. The German Shepherd is considered the 2nd most popular dog in the world. The Labrador Retriever occupies the first position.

The reasons why German Shepherds are so popular are varied. Their high level of intelligence makes them extremely desirable dogs.

In the same way, they are dogs that were bred from their origins to carry out many tasks and activities, so it is normal for people to want to acquire them.

2. Max Von Shlephanitz Is the Father of This Breed

Max Von Shlephanitz was the person who created the German Shepherd. Max bought the first herding dog shown in 1895.

The dog, named Horand Von Grafath, was officially registered as the first German Shepherd by the German Shepherd Association, the first such dog club established by Max Von Shlephanitz.

3. These Dogs Were Used in the First and Second World War

Max von Stephanitz, who developed the German Shepherd, worked hard to make this dog a hardworking and versatile breed. This made these canines essential during WWI and WWII:

  • During World War I, German Shepherds were used by soldiers on the battlefield to carry out certain important activities. For example, they were used as sentinel, guard, and rescue dogs. They also helped carry wounded soldiers to a safe place to be treated.
  • During World War II, both German and American soldiers used German Shepherds during battles for WWI-like activities.

4. German Shepherds Have an Official Sport

Lovers of this breed of dog decided to create a sport called “Schutzhund” with the aim of making the most of the intelligence and abilities of this canine. Remember that German Shepherds are versatile animals that can perform well in many activities.

Schutzhund is a sport where people can test the intelligence, trainability, willingness to work, bravery, sense of smell, and protective instincts of German Shepherds.

5. German Shepherds Can Come in Over Ten Different Colours and Patterns

German Shepherds have a beautiful appearance that makes anyone want to adopt or purchase them. Most of these dogs are known for having a black and tan coats. However, this is not the only colour combination that we can see in the German Shepherds.

Apart from the combination of black & tan, there are also other colours that may be common, but not so common, in these canines:

  • Black & red
  • Black & silver
  • Black & cream

There are many other beautiful colours that are rarer to see on German Shepherds and are not considered official by the AKC:

  • Black
  • White
  • Isabella
  • Panda
  • Sable
  • Blue
  • Liver
  • Albino

6. German Shepherds Are in the Top 3 of the Most Intelligent Dogs in the World

One of the characteristics for which German Shepherds are so popular and desired is their intelligence.

They are brilliant dogs that can quickly learn any skill and command compared to other dogs. The Poodle and Border Collies are the only breeds that beat the German Shepherd in intelligence.

The high level of intelligence of these dogs allows them to be easily trained to carry out any activity, which is something that we cannot find in most breeds.

7. The Name of These Dogs Changed Throughout History

Actually, this breed of dog was called the German Shepherd Dog, translated into German as “Deutscher Schäferhund,” from the very beginning.

All the herding dogs of that country received that name, and later, they began to be known as Old German herding dogs (Altdeutsche Schäferhunde). 

However, WWI left a bad reputation in the Germans to the point that many people began to believe that the word “German” would negatively affect this breed. It is for this reason that this animal began to be called the Alsatian Wolf Dog by the UK Kennel Club.

After a while, the popularity of the breed was threatened again because, due to its name, people thought that this animal was a mix between a wolf and a dog.

The phrase “Wolf Dog” was removed, and the word “Alsatian” remained for 5 decades. In 1977, this dog was given the name “German Shepherd” again due to pressure from many enthusiasts of this breed.

American and European Breeders Have Created Controversies About the German Shepherd

Evidently, German Shepherds have changed since the day they were created. The changes made to this breed by European and American breeders have created many controversies and differing approaches.

While European breeders maintain the breed standards created by Max von Stephanitz, American breeders decided to develop other standards established by the AKC.

For example, European breeders continue to focus on the temperament, agility, and good health of German Shepherds, while American breeders have focused more on the physicality of these canines with the goal of using them for shows and exhibitions.

8. German Shepherds Were Raised to Work

From the beginning, German Shepherds were used to guiding and guarding sheep’s flocks. This is because they are animals that have always presented excellent physical condition, speed, and other qualities.

However, many other people began to acquire them to carry out other activities, especially in the army. They became versatile dogs capable of performing well in many tasks.

Today, German Shepherds are known to be excellent service, herding, fire, and police dogs.

9. German Shepherds Have a Double-Layered Coat

These dogs do not have just one type of coat. Many times we can find German Shepherds with short hair and many others with long hair. 

The most important thing is that any variation of its coat is double layered. The outer layer is longer, while the undercoat is dense and soft.

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